The number of people taken ill after allegedly consuming contaminated water in a dozen villages of Nadaun sub-division in Himachal Pradesh's Hamirpur district rose to 535 on Sunday.
People from a dozen villages, including Banh, Jandgi Gujran, Jandali Rajputan, Panyala, Pathiyalu, Niyati, Rangas Chowki Haar, Thain and Sankar have been affected by the outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Rajeev Kumar, the head of Rangas panchayat, had earlier in the day said the number of people taken ill crossed 300. Some patients have been referred to hospitals in Hamirpur.
Two to three people in every household have taken ill after consuming contaminated water provided by the Jal Shakti department, he added.
It is believed that the high amount of bacteria in the water is causing the illness, Mr Kumar said. He attributed it to contamination of the pit from which the water is supplied.
Villagers said the water was supplied without being filtered from an under-construction tank, causing the outbreak.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who is also the MLA from Naudan, has directed the district administration and the Health department to take proper care of the patients and ensure no shortage of medicines and other items.
He has also sought a complete report from state- and district-level agencies.
Health department teams have reached the affected villages to provide treatment to the people under the direct supervision of Chief Medical Officer (Hamirpur) Dr RK Agnihotri.
Officials from the Jal Shakti department have swung into action. It has stopped water supply to the affected villages and sent samples for testing.
Bottled water is being distributed among the people after supply was stopped, said a junior engineer in the department.
Deputy Commissioner Debasweta Banik said essential medicines, ORS packets, chlorine tablets and other materials were delivered to the villages through doctors, health and Asha workers.
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